Tucson Travel Guide

Just 60 miles north of the Mexican border, Tucson is a south-lying city in the Arizona desert. Nearly 800 meters above sea level, the city’s high elevation means it remains a little cooler than other cities in Arizona, although the summer months of April, May and June still sees temperatures in excess of 100°F.

Tucson was first settled in 1775 when it was part of the Spanish colonies before it was incorporated into the US in 1853. The city retains its Spanish feel and has preserved a number of monuments dating back to its days as a northern Mexican outpost, most notably the Mission San Xavier del Bac, a white building in the desert built in 1797. Tucson’s parks, such as Saguaro National Park, offer southwestern stereotypes of stunning proportions, with their dry, red earth, giant cacti and red sunsets.

Fans of space and America’s aviation industry will enjoy the Titan Missile Museum south of the city, where the US once held nuclear warheads ready for launching during the Cold War. Meanwhile, the Pima Air and Space Museum features more than 250 aircraft. Two observatories, the Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, are both an hour’s drive south of Tucson and accept visitors.

Tucson attractions

Mission San Xavier del Bac: more than 200 years old, this pristine white chapel is a reminder of the city’s Spanish days.

Sabino Canyon: is bored into the Santa Catalina Mountains on the northern fringe of the city.

Old Tucson Studios: still in use today, the studios date back to the beginning of WWII and were previously used extensively for filming westerns.

Saguaro National Park: a great place for mountain biking and camping, you can expect the weather to be hot and dry as you explore the park’s enormous cacti.

Kitt Peak National Observatory: offers tours and telescopes which you can use to gaze at the stars.

Titan Missile Museum: provides a fascinating look into the nuclear standoff during the Cold War.